I watched Star Wars Rogue One in the cinema recently, and just have to say wow! It really was amazing. Much as I enjoyed The Force Awakens, this was definitely a better film. Strangely, where The Force Awakens can be subjected to criticism that it rehashes some old memes from the original trilogy this film, which is set so closely before the first Star Wars, manages to have much that is new and unexpected, even though you know where the story will end up.
I really don’t want to give any spoilers because the film is absolutely incredible and many of the ideas and twists are brilliantly planned. So are the small sections and sometimes throwaway lines which connect this film to the original Star Wars. The film also goes deep more deeply into the Star Wars universe than others have. It shows the Rebel alliance as just that, an alliance of groups which at times disagree over what to do,` an alliance that is not unified in any way.
Without going into details, the film is a true Star Wars film. There’s X wings in desperate battle against hordes of Tie Fighters. There are Imperial Star destroyers making light work of almost anything that comes against them. There are Storm Troopers, droids and blasters. One thing which is absent is Jedi, as of course they must be given the storyline of the films before and after this one. That’s not to say their influence is missing, it’s felt strongly, but you don’t have any actual Jedi running around… so no cameos from Yoda, I’m afraid.
The main character, Jyn, is extremely well developed, and the actress playing her does a brilliant job. The rest of the characters are an interesting mix of those we know well from the original Star Wars and those that are completely new to this film. I hadn’t realised before I went that they’d used CGI for some of the main characters from the original film, to ensure they looked as they should, so I was amazed by just how closely the new actors matched the old ones.
I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that Princess Leia is seen at the end of the film, and to begin with it’s simply a shot from behind showing her in her white flowing robes and hood. That’s all I expected to see, but when she turned round it was Princess Leia, just as she looks in the original Star Wars.
For me, that was an especially poignant moment, given that Carrie Fisher died just two or three days before I saw the film. Leia was an incredibly strong character in the original trilogy, and along with the other key actors left a huge imprint on my heart in terms of loving stories generally and science fiction in particular. I know I’m just one amongst millions who are mourning the loss of Carrie Fisher at such a young age.
Overall, this film is a must see for all Star Wars fans. Even if you didn’t particularly like the Force Awakens I think you’ll love Rogue One. It ties in brilliantly with the original film, and develops the Star Wars universe in some really interesting ways.